5 Web Design Rules to Follow for Achieving Better SEO Results
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the methodical process of helping a website be found in search engines results pages (SERPs). Kevin Costner’s character, Ray Kinsella, famously was told in Field of Dreams, "if you build it, they will come."
However, in SEO if you build it -- you must then also work methodically to cultivate inbound pathways to attract the desired search traffic.
If you build it, they will come...with SEO
From a web design perspective, on-site structural work will help gradually improve the ranking signals Google and other search engines use to determine how to rank a website for relevant searches. Relentless improvement is certainly a fundamental truth with SEO as a website never truly achieves SEO nirvana.
Rather it needs to relentlessly workshop, modify, and fortify to demonstrate to the search engines how it is committed to being alive and kicking.
As such, here are five key web design concepts necessary for giving a website a competitive position in SEO.
1. Site Fundamentals
There are several core structural elements that set the stage for a well-optimized website.
This includes having a domain name that makes sense and relates to what you do, programming that delivers good site speed, use of text-based content (not images, flash, or video), including an internal link structure that the search engine can crawl, such as providing XML sitemaps, proper use of heading tags (H1, H2), and a sensible URL naming structure for internal pages.
2. Focused Content
Content quality is more effective than quantity. A well written and structured focused page is more effective at optimizing toward a targeted keyword phrase than an onslaught of articles.
Having said that, it is useful to craft some articles and have each contain an internal link back to that page which is the focus page for the chosen targeted keyword phrase.
For example, we have several blog articles about Drupal development, with each of them funneling to our primary Drupal Developer technology overview page via a network of internal links on our site to boost that focus page’s authority.
3. Transition from Rules Based Content
Web designers harness template builders which have rules to automatically assemble meta title and description tags for all pages. As such, inevitably some pages will have duplicate page titles.
It is good practice for a business to take their newly inherited site and concoct unique metadata to replace the original placeholder information in those tags.
Every page should have its own set of meta content tags to help search engines get a better individualized grasp of each page on the site.
4. Commitment to Change
SEO is a long-term strategy. Sometimes a client will ask us to have their site “SEO’d” during its design and development. They presume it will come out of the gate SEO-ready in its final form, whereas in actuality a new website will not immediately witness returns from simply having proper structure.
It will be many months before a noticeable rise in search rankings happens because it takes time to foster the authority and relevance necessary to compete in SERPs.
During that time a website owner/admin/SEO partner needs to learn and refine their site in conjunction with signals obtained from the reporting of search engines’ algorithms early placements.
5. Perpetual Battleground
Competitors are consistently active in enhancing their tactics too. Some of them will be making hefty investments for intelligently optimized content and formulating placements on authoritative publishers across the web to recruit authoritative backlinks.
An investment in well-written content and custom design elements can help create a more competitive site. Furthermore, one of the SEO signals is overall site traffic and on-site visit duration.
SEO has a symbiotic relationship with other digital marketing strategies including social media marketing, which does a good job of recruiting people who ultimately become repeat visitors with longer site visits (a positive signal about a website's credibility).
This traffic can produce more backlinks and some of them will generate subsequent repeat visits as direct (type-in) visits.